Putting on the Ritz *
A 25th-floor Battery Park City apartment by Alison Spear is all about living it up
Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 9/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
New York is the home of fierce competition. But if you're a partner at Millennium Partners, the real-estate developer behind the hotel and residences at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, chances are good that you'll come out on top in the apartment-envy game. Throw in an Alison Spear interior, an impressive collection of contemporary art, and views sweeping all the way to the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge—and the deal is more or less sealed.
The real-estate executive in question was a thirtysomething bachelor accustomed to tight quarters in a Greenwich Village brownstone, and his new apartment was 1,700 square feet, located on the Ritz-Carlton's 25th floor. "Clean, modern, and urban," Spear says of his personal style. As for hers, it's cool and understated, so she was well equipped for the task of appointing a three-bedroom that had been converted into a flexible, open one-bedroom with a dining area and den. Public spaces flow around an enclosed central kitchen, enhancing circulation for everyday use as well as entertaining. (There are also two full baths, plus a powder room.)
Spear's neutral palette and urban-grid vocabulary first appear with the limestone floor tile of the foyer. Here, Spear installed a ceiling cove with integral low-voltage fixtures to high-light photography on the 'walls. An image by Stéphane Couturier shows a building rising in Dresden, Germany. Other pieces bear witness to their owner's flight obsession: Michal Rovner's moody worm's-eye view of a bird on the wing and Mina Yanagi's shot of her grandmother gazing through an airplane window.
Resembling rows of gray and blue color chips, Peter Wegner's composition in oil-based media on MDF epitomizes the orthogonal rhythm of the corner living area beyond. One informal seating group comprises an L-shape sofa and a square ebonized-mahogany cocktail table, its top scored by an inlaid maple grid. The grid theme is echoed by the tufting of Poul Kjaerholm's daybed, covered in black leather, set near two gray leather-covered reclining armchairs and a Tommi Parzinger side table.
"With the views so airy, we tried not to put furniture against the walls," Spear says. "Set in the middle of the floor, pieces seem like they're floating."
The living area flows into the dining area, in the center of the southern exposure. Antonio Citterio's pickled-oak dining table and eight of Bruno Fattorini's cotton-upholstered chairs maintain the rectilinearity, while Philippe Starck's chandelier is considerably more playful, its blown-glass vessels perched on a clear glass platform. During dinner parties, a display of objets d'art is cleared from the top of a custom wengé console, allowing it to serve as a buffet.
The adjacent den is cozy yet spare and sophisticated. 'Spear appointed it with a plush velvet-upholstered sofa, a silk-covered lounge chair, and wengé tables, all of them custom. Along one wall runs a built-in wengé desk.
Custom furniture likewise dominates the bedroom, where the headboard and footboard present massive rectangular surfaces of brown velvet. The nightstands are wengé. Flooring is bleached oak. ("Limestone was too cold," Spear explains.)
Best of all, the bedroom comes with room service, since all Ritz-Carlton apartments benefit from the amenities of the hotel below. There's even an in-house arts institution—the tower's basement now houses the Skyscraper Museum.
A south-facing 25th-floor view provides a backdrop for the living area of an apartment that Alison Spear designed at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, hotel and residences.
A C-print by Deborah Mesa-Pelly hangs above a wengé console in the entry.
Low-voltage lighting in the foyer's ceiling cove illuminates photography by Miwa Yanagi and Michal Rovner; the floor is limestone.
The living area's leather-covered reclining armchairs flank a lacquered table by Tommi Parzinger; other furniture includes Poul Kjaerholm's leather-covered PK80 daybed and a cocktail table in ebonized mahogany with maple inlays. The painting is Peter Wegner's oil-based media on MDF.
Philippe Starck's Cicatrices de Luxe 5 chandelier hangs above Antonio Citterio's pickled-oak SMTR30 table and Bruno Fattorini's cotton-upholstered Albertina chairs in the dining area.
In the foyer, a Cibachrome by Stéphane Couturier shows a market building in Dresden, Germany.
Spear chose stainless-steel fixtures for a bathroom.
In the den, a custom silk-covered chair and velvet-upholstered sofa surround a wengé cocktail table.